USA: David Padgett Spotlight

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- While David Padgett had limited opportunities to showcase his abilities on Thursday at the USA Youth Development Festival, there's no doubt that he's a big-time talent.

After all, the 6-11, 238-pound rising senior was named one of the 16 finalists for the 2002 USA Basketball Junior World Championship Qualifying Team, after competing for a week with college-bound stars and highly regarded underclassmen.

"I think I held my own," a modest Padgett said Thursday evening.

With the USA Trials in two weeks in Miami, Fla., Padgett will miss the ABCD and Big Time, making this Youth Development Festival our one and only chance to watch the Reno center.

Padgett saw limited touches in practice, showed the ability to run the floor and was active on the boards, hitting a few close-range shots and swatting two shots in a scrimmage. The next three days will provide Padgett the opportunity to showcase his skills.

"His athleticism and mobility have steadily increased over the last several years," analyst Dave Telep noted.

Padgett said, "The coaches have been saying I've got a pretty good feel [for the game], like knowing where guys are. Our team went to Cal's team camp last week, and Coach [Pete] Newell was there, and we talked a while. He said the thing that impressed him the most was how well I use my left hand. He said that's going to be my strength."

Padgett's recruitment, meanwhile, is at a standstill this summer, to be resumed and perhaps concluded in September. He has already taken official visits to Kansas, Arizona and Stanford.

"I'll take my last two in September and then sit down with my parents and talk about it," he said. "North Carolina's been after me pretty hard about that and Cal[ifornia] wants me to come down. And, Oregon, wants me to visit, too."

According to Padgett, the Tar Heels will be the fourth visit, while Oregon or possibly Louisville will be the fifth, since California is a nearby campus that he's familiar with.

And what will be the deciding factor when he chooses a school in the fall?

"Comfort level," he said. "How well I feel being there, playing for the coach, being with the other players.

Chapel Hill stands out as the only campus Padgett is considering on the east coast. He credits this interest to the Tar Heel staff's recruitment of him.

"They've probably shown the most interest," he said. "Carolina's been recruiting me since I was a freshman."

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